Santa Maria Style Barbecue Recipes

If there’s one thing that brings travelers and adventurers to our valley, it’s our iconic Santa Maria Style barbecue. The reason our barbecue is treasured by taste buds around the world? Authenticity and simplicity. We use recipes that date back generations—and we know better than to mess with a good thing. Fortunately for barbecue lovers and grillmasters alike, the timelessness and simplicity of our recipes means they’re easy to prepare on your own.

Today, we’re serving up our top tips and secret recipes (shhhh!) to help you bring the flavors of Santa Maria style barbecue to your grill back home. Just don’t blame us when your neighbors come knocking for a plate or two. 

Enjoy the recipes below or checkout the Official Santa Maria Style Cookbook.

It starts with the right seasonings and the best barbecue products.

Before you dive fork-deep into our recipes, make sure you’re starting out with the best products and seasonings—the simplicity of Santa Maria Style makes the ingredients you use all the more important. We recommend getting your products from Susie Q’s. Founded by Santa Maria local Susan Righetti, Susie Q’s offers the pinquito beans, Santa Maria Style seasonings, and red oak chips you’ll need to ensure your barbecue is authentic.

What are we cooking?

Today, we’re whipping up the classic Santa Maria Style barbecue plate. This includes:

Pro Tips Before You Begin:
  • The pinquito beans need to soak overnight, so start those the night prior.
  • The salsa needs to sit for at least one hour to develop its full flavor, so make it the morning of your barbecue, or 1-2 hours before you start on your meat.
  • Red oak chips are the key to getting that distinct Santa Maria flavor in your meat. Be sure to use them, or your tri-tip won’t taste authentic.
  • For a truly authentic Santa Maria Style barbecue meal, serve this all up with a fresh strawberry dessert (our Valley is famous for ‘em) and a good glass of red wine.

Santa Maria Style Barbecue Recipes:

Authentic Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Recipe
Santa Maria Style Pinquito Beans Recipe
Tangy Santa Maria Salsa Recipe
Simple Santa Maria Green Salad
Want even more tasty tips?

You can find the recipes for a complete Santa Maria Style feast – including our famous tri-tip rub, garlic bread, and all the barbecue fixings in the Santa Maria Valley Cookbook.

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In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.

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